SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds, a surprise guest for the Giants' series opener Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, insisted that he hasn't retired from baseball but indicated that he won't be back in uniform as an active player -- if any club should want him.
Bonds, who visited AT&T Park twice last year during his first season as an inactive player, created a stir when he took a front-row seat during the first inning between Giants managing general partner Bill Neukom and team president Larry Baer. The all-time home run leader drew applause from the stunned fans who immediately recognized him, then prompted a noisy standing ovation from the crowd before the top of the second inning when he received a video tribute and was introduced over the public-address system.
Within seconds, fans saluted Bonds by chanting the slugger's first name, as they did through much of his 15-year career with San Francisco. The Giants announced toward the end of the 2007 season that they would not re-sign Bonds, who is believed to have received no serious offers from any of the 29 other teams since.
Bonds, who said he was in town for a charitable event, tried to sidestep the issue of his playing career while speaking briefly with reporters. When one reporter raised the subject by mentioning, "We heard you haven't retired yet," Bonds replied simply, "I just haven't retired, that's the only status I have."
Asked if he had any interest in playing again, Bonds said, "The only interest I have right now is going to my seat and watching the Giants beat the Dodgers."
He said that when he communicates with his agent, Jeff Borris, "the only thing we ever talk about is when we're going to meet for lunch."
Bonds, who visited the Giants' clubhouse before the game, said that he has spent his free time "enjoying myself" -- though he's also awaiting trial on perjury charges stemming from a federal investigation of his alleged performance-enhancing drug use. Asked if he's working out, Bonds said, "A little bit," and clarified that he underwent surgery on his quadriceps earlier this year, not his hip as previously reported.
"I feel good," Bonds said. "I'm walking and not on crutches and not in a wheelchair."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.